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Politics should have a sense of seriousness and purpose: Heng Swee Keat

SINGAPORE should not go the way of the United States' political system, where discussions are polarised and marked by grandstanding, said Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat on Monday.

"I hope we will maintain a certain sense of seriousness and purpose in our political life," said Mr Heng, adding that Parliament should not be a source of entertainment but rather an arena for considered political discussion.

He was speaking to approximately 800 attendees at the Singapore Perspectives 2016 conference, organised by the Institute of Policy Studies.

Mr Heng also expressed his dismay at countries where much time is spent fighting along sectarian lines, with systems mired in political gridlock. This only serves to hurt the common man, he said.

"I find that very troubling (and) hope we don't get there," said Mr Heng.